Early voting opens at Holmes, Underwood and Nguyen speak


Sean Reed

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood stands in front of students at NIU’s MLK Commons on Oct. 24, 2022. Underwood shows support for the youth vote ahead of midterm elections. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU College Democrats took students on a “Party to the Polls” Monday at the Martin Luther King Commons, joined by special guest speakers Professor Linh Nguyen and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.

The event began at 10 a.m. with members of the organization tabling at the commons, advocating for students to vote early and for their voices to be heard in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Reliable information on politics is the biggest hurdle for first-time voters,” said Montez Soliz, a senior political science major and intern for Underwood’s campaign. “There’s so much social media to engage with, it’s hard to find the truth. Students feel like their voices don’t matter.”

NIU College Democrats officially represents the Democratic Party at NIU as a student organization, according to their Huskie Hub site.

At about 3 p.m., NIU College Democrats and a crowd of students were joined by Nguyen and Underwood to promote their event.

Both Nguyen and Underwood stressed the importance of the youth vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Professor Linh Nguyen encourages NIU students to vote early on Oct. 24, 2022. Nguyen is the Democratic candidate for DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder in the 2022 midterm elections. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

Nguyen, a professor of computational chemistry at NIU and candidate for DeKalb county clerk, let students know the value of their vote.

“If anyone denies you the right to vote, we should hear about it,” Nguyen said. “That’s why I’m running for county clerk, because I want to protect your right to vote today.”

Underwood remarked on the achievement of securing the student center as an early polling place.

“Think of this as your invitation to remind (students) of the opportunity to participate in this election,” Underwood said. “We need your help. Your vote is powerful; your voice is powerful.”

Underwood, who was re-elected in her 2020 campaign by a small margin, went on in her speech to address voter apathy. Underwood said that sitting at home and choosing not to vote lets political extremists win elections.

Early voting at NIU began Oct. 24 in the Holmes Student Center, lasting until Nov. 4.